Tag Archives: magic

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord

Type: Helpful PSA or Lewd Cartoon?

Synopsis: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Pros:  How Not To Summon a Demon Lord is about a shut-in computer nerd that gets sucked into a facsimile of his favorite video game. He was accidentally “summoned” by two cute anime girls that double as his personal slaves and grow to love him both emotionally and sexually. The narrative is all too familiar and does nothing to dispel the stigma of Isekai anime as male power fantasy. In our story, the protagonist is the strongest character in the game, he is basically invincible, and everything he says is re-translated into something intimidating/heroic. But the biggest issue is the anime’s portrayal of women.

The story both infatilizes and sexualizes each female character almost to the point of absurdity. Rem, who by all accounts should be the second most powerful character as she houses a demon lord within her, is literally an svelte cat girl who is obviously meant to invoke someone much younger. Not only does she look young, but she has no way to access her powers, and must rely on the protagonist to remove her power through tactile sexual penetration. Putting aside fiction’s general problem with women with power, Rem has no agency in this story. Her biggest decision was summoning the protagonist. The story also revels in scenes where Rem is in pain, which reveals a lot about the author’s sadomasochistic tastes. Then there’s Shera. Shera is the story’s main source of fan service. Where Rem is underdeveloped, Shera is overdeveloped. She is an adolescents, or immature man’s, ideal woman. Bubbly, large breasted, scantly clad, and abundantly amorous. Shera is the story’s biggest missed opportunity. Her entire story arc centered on her decision to break off the the shackles of her culture’s expectations of her to forge her own path. Although she struggles, oftentimes comically, her desire to become an adventurer instead of becoming a queen to bear hears was admirable. Or, at least it would be, if her actions weren’t negated by the story. Because after Shera shares her convictions with the cast and audience, she is immediately brainwashed and kidnapped by her finance, who is also her brother, who tries to break her by having a monster sexually assault her. She only escapes because the protagonist rescues her, and the story even has the gall to make Shera cry for her brother/rapist.

Is How Not to Summon a Demon Lord a sexist show? Yes. This story demonstrates a very problematic view of male and female roles and dynamics. It shows women as weak, childish, sexy, and often times all three. The ultimate example is Klem. THE most powerful being in the story. The ruler of all demons. Who is really a prepubescent girl who loves cookies, yet still wears next to nothing. Her demon form even has large breast in the design, and the protagonist could still hold her off single highhandedly! I know that here is a tendency to give anime the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the sexualization of women. But the excuses of “it’s a different culture,” or “westerners are too prudish,” were trite a decade ago, and cannot detract from what this show truly is: a power fantasy with clearly unequal social hierarchies and unrealistic and problematic sexual relationships.

Cons: [Exhale]…So yeah.

Watch it?: I mean, it was really easy to watch. It binged it in two days. And the show never pretends to be something else. You know upfront what your getting. But the more I thought about it, the creepier it got. (2/5)

MVP: The voice actors

The stuff they had to act through. God bless ’em.

Best Episode: “The Demon Lord Act” (cat ears).

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The Rising of the Shield Hero

Type: *Happy racoon noises*

Synopsis: A boy gets isekai’d into a magical fantasy land. That’s good. He gets stuck with the shield weapon, which is supposedly low tier. That’s bad. But he gets to form a party with a beautiful princess. That’s good. Then the princess falsely accuses him of rape and he gets shunned by the kingdom. That’s bad. And problematic. And inductive of a larger social issue that interprets sexual assault way too much from a male perspective.

Pros: He also gets a cute racoon girl to fight for him. That’s good. But she’s a slave….that’s bad. Anyway, The Rising of the Shield Hero is a 25 episode anime about Naofumi Iwatani, a early 20-something that gets stuck in another world. What sets this anime apart, at least briefly, from other isekai stories is that Naofumi is treated very badly throughout the series, forcing him to face more adversity than other protagonists. When Naofumi is shunned by the kingdom, he and the story develop a cynical personality, allowing the darker side of this fantasy world to be explored. The show deals with the imperfection of this world through the plight of the demi-humans, human/animal hybrids that are marginalized and even enslaved by the humans. Naofumi himself even participates, buying the young female demi-human Raphtalia so he can mold her into his personal weapon. Of course, this being anime, Naofumi is never cruel to his ward, and she soon develops a strong devotion/affection for him. Raphtalia actually provides Naofumi with his first genuine relationship, possibly ever, which teaches him to trust people again. Their scenes together during the duel with the Spear Hero is possibly the best scene in the entire series. Ironically, Naofumi’s exile actually benefits his reputation and that of the Shield Hero’s. Freed from royal edicts, Naofumi and his party are allowed to roam the country side, learning different skills out of necessity, building connections, and helping others. Throughout his journey, Naofumi questions his own bonds with others, but it is precisely these bonds that allow his legend to grow. He becomes what he was always meant to be, a shield to protect others.

Cons: The series has a very decisive first episode. It’s length and subject matter are you main barrier for entry. In the west, the show’s main controversies are in its use of a false rape accusation, and the use of slavery. In a world were claims of sexual assault are severely undermined in every culture, having a female characters use rape as a means to discredit a man does not help. At all. Some of the hate Myne got from the fandom was a bit telling is you look at it from a distance. The show also contradicts itself in it’s use of slavery. The character Raphtalia was sold into slavery and tortured, and the show even dedicates an episode to her horrible experience as a slave. But Raphtalia never speaks out against the system of slavery. She doesn’t seem to have an issue with the slave trader character, nor does anyone in the kingdom. If the Queen knows about it, she lets it slide, as do the other Cardinal Heroes. Aside from this, the show has your basic iseakai issues. Even though Naofumi is shunned in the series, he is always portrayed as being right. He knows exactly what to do in every situation, and if only people listened to him, everything would go right. This portrayal makes some scenes read like a passive aggressive passage from some teenager’s journal. Being an iseaki protagonists, Naofumi is also a natural chick magnet, forming a party of cute young girls. Like really young. Except for Raphtalia, who may have the mind of a 10 year old. but has the body of a woman. Big difference. It was also a bit disjointing that after the main story arc’s natural conclusion in episode 21, the story continues for 4 more episode. It almost felt like the studio was simply ordered to make 25 episodes.

Watch it?: It can be generic, but also enthralling (4/5)

MVP: Naofumi the Shield Hero

Yeah, he’s an avatar for wish fulfillment. But you gatta love that coat.

Best Episode: “The Raphtalia Arc” Ep. 1-4 (if you don’t want to watch all of it, these episodes are the best showcase for the entire show).

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Overlord II

Type: Lizard men and Bandit killing

Synopsis: We have two main campaigns here. First is the Lizard Men campaign, where our noble heroes have to defeat a united lizard army. Can our heroes’ vast armies and infinite strength stand up to a bunch of reptiles with pointy sticks? You’ll just have to watch to find out! Second is the 8 Fingers campaign, a side-quest for a butler, a damsel in distress, a couple of bumbling swordsman, and one shade throwing maid. Can they ever get along? You’ll just have to watch to find out!

Pros: Overlord season 2 is a protagonist-less story arc. Think the Shikamaru arc in Naruto, or the Doctor-lite episodes in Doctor Who. This means that our mmorpg nerd/underad lord main character, Ainz Ooal Gown, doesn’t really show up this season. He’s more of a supporting character in these stories. The first half of the season involved a group of Lizard Men who have to deal with Ainz’s forces invading their lands. I liked this arc because it was very reminiscent of older fantasy stories involving alliances between warrior tribes, magic swords, and outcasts heroes. The second arc revolved around Sebas, Ainz’s head butler, as he makes gets caught up in fighting an underground crime syndicate after saving a slave from death. This story was way more of a modern fantasy story: you have a young knight, a weary swoardsman, a sly princess, political games, and a gentleman hero who I may or may not have developed a crush on. Overall, a solid season.

Cons: I forgot to mention, but whoever did the English dialogue deserves a raise, because I loved the proper manner that all the character’s spoke in. It really helped convey a lot of their status and upbringing, as well as they’re regard to certain other characters. That being said, the action, while there, isn’t really something to write home about. It’s pretty generic fantasy fighting. A few swords slashes, a magic spell here and there, but nothing amazing. I can also imagine that some people won’t be syked that Ainz takes a back seat this season. I think it works really well, but people do watch this show to see the Overlord, not a bunch of lizards of their butler. In addition, the story doesn’t to a great job transitioning between story arcs. One episodes ends one arc, another begins the next. It’s a little jarring. However, this show does an incredible job of juggling new characters and giving them each a personality you can care about.

Watch it?: It’s would be an afront to the great Ainz Ooal Gown not to! (4/5)

MVP: Sebas

Daddy. (D-Did I do it right?)

Best Episode: Ep. 5 “The Freezing God” & Ep. 8 “A Boy’s Feeling” (one has the best joke’s I’ve seen in a while, and the other makes me want a spin-off)

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Overlord

Type: A horrible nightmare for some, an opportunity for others.

Synopsis: A complete nerd that spent 12 YEARS on an online MMORPG has to sadly say good-bye to his friends as the servers are being shut down. As he closes his eyes to feel the sweet relief of digital death, he discovers the he is now stuck in the game. The game where’s he’s an over-leveled sorcerer, and commands other over-leveled characters, some of whom are hot babes that want to literally jump his bones (he’s a skeleton). Man, if I wasn’t such a huge nerd in other areas, I’d give MMORPG’s a try. According to anime, there’s no downside!

Pros: So this is an Isekai series…sit down DAMMIT! Or I’ll never give you the launch codes! Anyway, this one’s gimmick is that the character is stuck in a non-human body and is in charge of a crew of boss tier NPCs. Since the main character, Momonga, is the only player character still in the original game, the story takes him to another country. Kinda like an expansion pack map (or DLC for you kids out there). The two main plots are Momonga slowly gaining influence in the new country, while also trying to discover if any of his friends are also in the game. What I liked about this Isekai show is that Momonga is stuck in his player avatar, which is a huge skeleton, and how he basically starts to become his character, like become more indifferent towards other humans, and how something or someone is preventing him from losing his temper. And since he’s a character that’s been leveled up over 12 years, it makes sense that he’s so overpowered. Plus, Momonga’s tendency to reminisce about his past friends gives his characters an extra layer of sympathy.

Cons: Momonga’s general’s aren’t anything to write home about. They’re basically a mix of different troupes that, in fairness, seem like a group made by a bunch of MMO junkies. Even Albedo, the poster girl, isn’t that deep. Just your basic devoted demon. The best part of the anime are the first 1-4, which serve as an introduction to the series and help flesh out Momonga’s character. Episode 5-13 sadly move away from Momonga’s palace and deal with a local adventurer’s guild and church baddies. It ends with a battle against one of his generals (who’ve been brainwashed). Not bad, but nothing to write home about. Literally. And obviously, any fight involving Momonga has no stakes because you know that he’ll win, but sometimes having a show like isn’t a bad thing.

Watch it?: Depends on your tastes. (3/5)

MVP: Momonga

All hail the overlord!

Best Episode: Ep. 4 “Ruler of Death” (battle!)

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Little Witch Academia (Series)

Type: Believe in the you that believes in yourself, that’s the true magic.

Synopsis: Akko has a dream, to kill all hu–, oops, wrong show. I mean, Akko has a dream, to meet her Idol, becomes best friends, and revitalize the magic industry together. It’s basically the story of an obsessive fangirl trying to make her delusions a reality. But in the nicest, most welcoming sort of way that you can’t help but root for her.

Pros: Amazing. It’s Amazing. It’s also stupendous, terrific, astounding, inspiring, marvelous, wonderful, excellent, sensational, superb, great, first rate, dazzling, and, dare I say it, magical. It’s the first Trigger show, scratch that, the first anime show in a long time that I could easily recommend to everyone, any age and any background. The show follows Akko, a in student at a prestigious magical school as she tries to learn magic to live up to her idol, Shiny Chariot. The first half of the series focuses more of Akko’s day to day life, her struggles in class, and her relationship with her roommates and friends. One of the things I was immediately impressed by how true to life Akko’s portrayal was. Because Akko is shown to be airheaded, lazy, heastrong, whiny, petty, but also brave, kind, and empathetic. An actually teenager. You can laugh at her one minute, but be inspired by her the next (ex: That scene by the fountain. Wow!). Her friends are also a great addition, and each character gets at least one spotlight episode to explore there character. I personally liked Sucy’s spotlight episode and her Eternal Sunshine-esque adventure. The second half of the series focuses more on the search for the Seven Magical Words, and moves the spotlight into some of the more auxiliary characters. Overall, this is the type of show that makes me happy to be an anime fan. This is the type of show that I could realistically give to my 5 year old niece, and/or her mother, and/or her grandfather, without any reservations about the content of reaction to it. It’s a truly all-ages property, joining the rank of Ghibli movies. It’s one of Trigger’s best shows, I would argue the BEST up till now, and a true spiritual successor to Gainax’s Gurren Lagann.

Cons:…maybe Croix. Professor Croix is the series antagonist that’s introduced halfway through (a traditional Trigger/Gainax mid-season twist). She’s not really too imposing, nor that interesting. Unfortunately, we never get a spotlight for her, making her feel more distant than the other characters. I also feel that the teachers at the school weren’t given the proper “cool guy” moment that I expected them to have. I did, however, like how the school’s business side was handled. The world in the anime knows magic exists, but no longer believe in it due to the rise of science and technology. Kinda like Tinker Bell, magic gets weaker the less people believe in it. So magic is kinda on it’s last legs when Akko shows up. And, I guess another negative is that you can’t binge watch it. Or shouldn’t, at least. It’s too good. You have to watch each episode one by one. YOU HAVE TO.

Watch it?: Officially on my Top 10 Favorite anime list. (6/5)

MVP: Akko

She may be a little witch now, but she’ll be shiny one day!

Best Episode: Ep. 8 “Sleeping Sucy” (I am just so happy this went from a Kickstarter show to a full blown production).

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The Vision of Escaflowne

Type: That time Isaac Newton was thwarted by a Japanese teenager

Synopsis: And he would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those meddling defiers of fate, and their dumb dragon mecha!

Pros: First off, much better than the movie. In fact, the movie is super bad in comparison. This anime is all about a girl that is wisked away into a new land full of knights, and beastmen, and giant robots. One of the strongest things I can say about it is that it’s all very romantic. I don’t mean “romantic” as in a love story, through that is here, but as in the classical definition. There are chivalrous and handsome knights, byron-esque antagonists, evil Empires, dragons (in a sense), and various kings. It made the anime feel like I was watching a classic adventure story. And since this was made in 1996, it kinda is. The show’s premise is that the protagonists are on the run from the evil Zaibach Empire while going Kingdom to Kingdom trying to convince anyone to help them fight back. Along the way, we explore various aspects of the main and supporting cast, from their past to their presents and futures. The show has strong character exploration and character growth. The anime is a shojo  adventure story. This doesn’t take away from the action. Every episode or two has a fight scene with Escaflowne, the DRAGON MECHA. But it also explore the emotional turmoil each of the characters face from obvious things like losing an entire country, to smaller things, like your crush flirting with other people. What you get as a result is an anime is great action and great character work that I would argue belongs is the pantheon of great 90’s anime, right along side Cowboy Bebop, DBZ, and Evangelion.

Cons: I actually knew nothing about Escaflowne before watching this. I watched the movie too long ago to remember it, and it has very little to do with the actual anime anyway. After a few episodes, I realized that this obviously a shojo story. For instance, Hitomi is a pretty, but not too pretty, high school runner who was working on getting her first kiss before being sent to a magical land by a abrasive, but ultimately caring, prince. Along the way, she also meets a handsome older knight, forming a love triangle. She also develops a friend group where she’s the moderate, not as pretty or naive as Princess Millerna, but also not as cutesy or bratty as Merle. They get into fight over the boys of the series, with Hitomi obviously being the object of jealousy for her friends. And, of course, Hitomi solve’s all her friends problems just by caring, because she’s that good of a friend. It’s all very shojo (or at least very anime, because a male protagonist would get the same deal). But that’s what kept me going. You get to see what every character is feeling after important events, and each main character experiences a character arc, where they aren’t the same person as their first introduction. Well, except maybe Merle…no, even she learns to let Vann go. Because without all the interpersonal drama, this anime would be convoluted and generic. I still have no idea what the hell was going one with the Emperor’s fate alteration machine, or the whole Mystic Moon (Earth) vs. Gaea origins thing. Like, who came first? Was it us or them? The show kinda loses itself in the whole divination angle, but that’s only one aspect of an otherwise amazing show. It’s the kind of show where you could explore every episode by itself. There’s actually a lot more I’d love to delve into (like Allen and Faulken’s story arcs), but I’d rather you watch this show. It’s that good.

Watch it?: One of the few anime I would recommend taking your time on. Don’t binge. Enjoy the ride. It’s worth it. (5/5)

MVP: Allen Schezar

Handsome. Chivalrous. Brave. Skilled. Give him a Doctor’s License and I can bring him to meet my mother.

Best Episode: Ep. 10-13 The Fried Arc (a little bit of everything that makes the show great)

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The Irregular at Magic High School

Type: slooooooooooooow

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Synopsis: Tell me if you heard this one before. A high school full of super powered teenagers, mostly female, accepts a male student who is placed in the lower ranks due to a technicality. But the boy’s actually a secret bad ass that never does anything wrong, causing the female students to all quiver in unison. At least no one has pink hair in this one.

Pros: The Irregular at Magic High School has all the trappings of a generic light novel anime based on a magical battle school. Except for the main protagonist, Tatsuya. While Tatsuya does have all the circumstantial trappings of a magical battle school light novel hero, such as a harem of girls who love him, the uncanny ability to succeed in any situation, and secret powers, his main character trait is being stoic. That’s not be calling him bland. He literally does not feel emotions, having repressed them early in life. While more light novel action heroes are usually a little bumbling to give off an image of geniality, Tatsuya does not. He never laughs, rarely smiles, and most of his expressions are reserved for dry humor or affection for his sister. This calm demeanor almost justifies his level of skill and mary-sue like ability to solve any problem. Plus, his quiet but handsome attitude is kinda hot, so you can see why most of the girls naturally flock to him. Story wise, first arc is the strongest, since it sets up this whole social conflict between people with magic, people with weak magic, and people with not magic. These themes of inequality and discrimination make the anime seem like it’s going somewhere, even if it ultimately doesn’t.

Cons: It’s just so boring. The anime has three arcs: The School arc, the School-Tournament arc, and the War arc. The first arc is the most interesting and the most promising. It introduces a world were magic is real, and magicians are trained as soldiers from an early age. In the most elite of elite magic school, the student body has developed their own social cast system: Blooms and Weeds, based on test scores. This echoes the larger world issues between Magicians and Non-Magicians. Tatsuya, being a “weed” with great skills, throws a wrench into this system. That’s cool and all, and lasts about 7 episodes. The next arc is the tournament arc, which Tatsuya’s high school wins, even though the first anime opening had the audacity of framing one of the competitors as Tatsuya’s rival (false advertisement!). The last arc is a war arc against some terrorists or something, but honestly, I was checked out by then. The only real interesting thing about the last arc was the reveal that Tatsuya is secretly a soldier, but the show kinda reveals this in the firs episode. So story wise, I don’t recommend this anime. What about character wise? Nope on that either. There is no character development here. Like none at all. The only person who actually changes and evolves is a character in the first arc who joined a terrorist cell and later regrets it. But that’s it. And I don’t even want to mention that explicit incest between Tatsuya and his sister! I don’t want to be that guy, but their relationship is an abomination and will cursed them to the fiery depths of hell. (P.s. There’s also this weird hue over the show that makes it seem that everything is slightly glowing.

Watch it?: Maybe the first 7 episodes. (3/5)

MVP: Tatsuya Shiba

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I found his cold demeanor refreshing

Best Episode: Enrollment I-VII (the first arc)

 

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Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Type: Arabian Nights starring Jake Gyllenhall!?

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Synopsis: In a time long ago before, there was a movie franchise of movie franchises called Aladdin, of Studio Disney. So popular was the story that it sprang forth two direct to video sequels, a cartoon show, and some pretty good video games. It’s also the reason why this wasn’t just called the “Adventures of Aladdin” or something. Copyright is a scary thing. Anyway, this stars a little magician called “Aladdin” with a non-talking Genie and “Alibaba,” a thoroughly not old woodcutter. Oh, and sometimes it also has a slave girl named Morgiana, but according to the show, she’s not super important.

Pros: I’ve said this before, but I always find anime adaptations of non-Japanese stories really fascinating. In this case, the anime borrows heavily from One Thousand and One Nights, one of the definitive bedrocks of modern fiction. Having never read the collected works (It’s on my list), I can’t really speak that much about the allusions the anime uses. What I can say is that the Magi anime itself is pretty good. It sets itself up as an adventure story, but quickly becomes a sociopolitical tale with social inequality as it’s main topic. The villains used in this are often drunk on other own power, either because of owning slaves, or holding titles, or simply being powerful. A lot are simply bullies, which irritated my a lot, meaning that they work as villains (because you’re not suppose to like the villains!). And because most of the story arcs boil down to the harshness of inequality, something that has stayed consistent throughout history, the plots often pack an emotional punch. Just look at Morgiana, a slave from early childhood with the mental scars to prove it. The use of the colorful world was a great juxtaposition with the ugly actions of some of it’s inhabitants, as well as the power source of the true antagonists being hatred and negativity. I should also mention that the openings for this anime are really good. Not artsy, as they mostly use scenes from the upcoming episodes, but they were really fun to watch.

Cons: A story set in the Middle-East, and you couldn’t give one character a tan? For reals!? Hollywood gets a lot of flack for white washing its films (deservedly so), but anime ain’t exactly innocent of this either. Like, why is Morgiana of the “Dark Continent” (cough Old 1800’s Racist English Name for  the continent Africa cough) a pale girl with red hair? Why does Alibaba have Blonde Hair and Blue Eyes? This is almost as bad a Gods of Egypt, which I’m sure will stay a topical reference…Anyway, there are other problems. For a story whose opening sells itself as an adventure series, Aladdin and crew don’t really do a lot of traveling together. And despite all this talk of Dungeons, you only get 2 in the show. A lot of the story arcs just have them hanging out in one city at a time. You never see them hit the road as a group, which would have been fun. Speaking of groups, I feel that Morgiana gets short changed, probably because she’s “the girl.” The anime is more of the Aladdin and Alibaba story. Spefically, Alibaba’s hero’s journey with Aladdin as his wizard advisor. Morgiana’s just there for the ride. Story wise, this is a meaty anime. Some arcs drag, like the Balbadd story. Ultimately, my biggest problem with this anime is that I feel that it sells itself as a fun adventure story, but the levity never arrives outside of a few boob jokes. It’s really more like a disingenuous Fullmetal Alchemist.

Watch it?: Yeeeeah, but do realize it does feel long. (4/5)

MVP: Morgiana

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Always has the best fights

Best Episode: Ep6 “Warrior Tribe Fanalis” (showcase of the anime’s story structure)

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Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade (OVA)

Type: A sequel, apparently

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Synopsis: So funny story. I thought this was Little Witch Academia 1. Well, that’s not so funny.

Pros: Once again, I continue my real life tradition of entering a franchise at a sequel by mistake. In this case, Little Witch Academia, released by Trigger. Trigger, of course, known for Kill La Kill. The animation is stellar, the characters are likable, and I am genuinely surprise this entire franchise isn’t the biggest thing in anime, because every0ne can watch this. It’s all age friendly, and easily appeals to westerners. And yes, there are a ton of references to Kill La Kill, other Trigger shows, Disney, Harry Potter, and Attack on Titan if you want to stretch it. I really liked Little Witch Academia. It’s basically about a school of witches. In this installment, the characters are forced to organize the school’s entry into the annual town parade. Akko, the protagonist, gets a little gun ho about portraying a more positive image for witches, which leds to some friction between for BFFs. Though, this does allow for the introduction of 3 new witches, Amanda, Constaze, and Jasminka.

Cons: I’m not ganna lie, it felt more like a TV show than a movie. For more than a moment, I though I was watching the back-door pilot for a series. I think Trigger thought so as well. Story wise, I think that Akko’s conflict with her friends was simply put there to thin the herd a little, so that the 3 new witches could be used instead. Weirdly, the 3 girls warm up to Akko right away, dispute not knowing her a few days before. They get so close, in fact, that I found it odd that they didn’t contribute to the friendship is magic blast at the end.

Watch it?: I hope this franchise blows up!

MVP: Akko

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Keep reaching for the stars kid.

Best Moment: Passing around the wand at the end (beautiful)

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Negima!?

Type: A remake, who knew?

negima

Synopsis: In what I’m pretty sure is just a Harry Potter rip-off, a young wizard from England takes a teaching job at an all-girl’s school. While there, he makes semi-romantic pacts with his students and makes them do various favors for him. In a good way.

Pros: Negima!? is an alternate remake of Maho Sensei Negima! a manga and anime about a young wizard and his class of school girls. The manga was actually made by Ken Akamatsu, creator of Love Hina! As such, both series have a similar brand of goofy humor and love comedy. You have a girl with crazy pink tales and obsession with Chupacabras, a robot and vampire, a Blond girl who keeps calling another girl a failure, a samurai whose way too in love with her charge, it’s great! This particular version, however, was also made by SHAFT and director Akuyuki Shinbo, who worked on such anime as Medoka Magica and Nisemonogatari. So like a lot of SHAFT and Shinbo work, Negima!? is full of easter eggs (The Black Rose Baron), ranging art styles, match-cuts, short skits, etc. Just think Monogatari, or even Zetsubou-Sensei. In fact, the only reason I know about Negima!?’s production background is because it reminded so much of Zetsunou-Sensei that I had to double check. So while I was expecting a very generic looking love-comedy/harem, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the show.

Cons: Let me put it this way, having SHAFT and Akuyuki Shinbo saved the show. At its core, Negima!? is still a fairly generic harem anime. Its actually kinda weirder because he protagonist is a 10 year old boy, and all his love interests are about 14-15 years old. And the fact that all the girls have to kiss the child doesn’t help in the gross factor. Just imagine if it was a 10 year old girl and 14-15 year old boys. Ewwwwwww. But SHAFT and Shinbo’s style makes it sort of work. Now, its not perfect. The story arcs aren’t really that interesting. A lot of the early episodes are repetitive, with all the problems being resolved with Negima kissing a girl. Sometimes the animation and story don’t mesh, and the opening intro doesn’t really match the tone of the show. The central plot revolving around the “Star Crystals” and “The Darkness” are mediocre at best, but the gags and character interactions surrounding it are great. These two elements manage to balance each other out, and you’ll end up remembering the good over the bad.

Watch it!?: It takes a bit, but you’ll get into it (4/5)

MVP: Asuna’s Pink-Tails

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Officially the only anime girl I like with Pink-Tails

Best Episode: Ep.14 “‘Frankly speaking, in the face of magic, scientific theory might as well be nonexistent.’ by Hakase” (I just love that falling out of the sky scene)

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